February 24, 2024

Around 82,000 tourists have visited the famed strawberry farm of La Trinidad, Benguet from Oct. to Dec. 2022, records show.
Municipal Tourism Action Officer Valred Olsim said the number of tourists visiting the town’s main attraction is slowly rising as restrictions in travel have eased up.
Olsim said many of the tourists visiting Baguio City have also visited the strawberry farm especially during the holidays.
The influx of tourists at the site also caused long queues of traffic. 
“Unfortunately, we had the same kind of challenges just like in 2018 and 2019 where droves of visitors came but the road infrastructure of La Trinidad is limited,” Olsim said.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, La Trinidad received 322,000 tourists with 240,000 arriving during the December holidays.
Olsim said the municipality is slowly convening tourism stakeholders to prepare for the influx of tourists after tourism was sidelined at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Last month, long queues of vehicles lined up at the entrance of the strawberry farm up to the stretch of Km. 6, which also affected motorists going to Baguio City.
The tourism office estimated a total of 14,000 vehicles entered the strawberry farm during the last quarter of 2022, and the bulk of these were in December. 
Olsim said they have scheduled a series of meetings with Benguet State University that manages the strawberry farm to improve the traffic scheme at the area.
This is also in preparation for the upcoming big events in the first quarter of this year including Baguio City’s Panagbenga and the town’s Strawberry Festival.
Mayor Romeo Salda acknowledged they were again caught off guard with the influx of tourists.
The Traffic Management Board convened last month to discuss the holiday traffic scheme, but the large number of tourists coupled with the vegetable trucks delivering their goods at the various trading posts remains a challenge.
Salda said they have discussed with BSU to open its last gate to accommodate vehicles in case traffic ensues at the entrance of strawberry farm. – Ofelia C. Empian